C&O Canal Hike 13
Harpers Ferry to Shepherdstown and Lock 38
Starting at the old 1893 railroad trestle, the westbound Towpath now enters one of its most dramatic sections. On your right, towering cliffs dwarf the canal. Until the early 1950s, wild goats roamed the wooded ridge. Black bears have been making a comeback in the area as well — making their way back just as human settlement is rapidly expanding. The Potomac roars by through a set of Class II rapids known as "The Needles." Look for kayakers along here. When the river is high you get the impression you're about to walk right into the water. After hiking a mile you re-enter woods and soon reach Feeder Dam 3. Note the interesting ruins here including the dam, a lockhouse and a drydock on the berm side of Lock 35 where boats were repaired. Soon you'll come to the beautifully restored Antietam Aqueduct. The bloodiest battle in US history took place just upstream from here. The section ends under the bridge at Shepherdstown, West Virginia, which is just across the river.
Start: Harpers Ferry
Explore the PHT
Maryland Heights Trail
Did You Know?
The round holes you see in the rocks along the River Trail in Great Falls National Park were carved by the Potomac. Some of these potholes are large enough to stand in and can take over 500 years to form.